Vietnam: Internet writer Tran Quoc Hien sentenced

Internet writer and human rights lawyer Tran Quoc Hien has been sentenced to five years in prison and two years probationary detention for his critical writings published online and dissident activities. He is among 13 writers detained in Vietnam today.

According to PEN’s information, Tran Quoc Hien was arrested on 12 January 2007, the day after being nominated as the spokesperson for the Workers-Farmers Organisation (UWFO), an organisation which represents workers and farmers’ rights and which is not  recognised by the government. Tran Quoc Hien is known for his critical writings published on the Internet, including a short story ‘The Tail’  about the experience of life under surveillance. He was charged with ‘spreading anti-government propaganda’ on the Internet and ‘endangering state security’ and was found guilty of both charges by a court in Ho Chi Minh City on 15 May 2007, following a trial that reportedly only lasted four hours.

Tran Quoc Hien, 42, is a member of the pro-democracy movement ‘Bloc 8406’. He is also a human rights lawyer, known for his work defending farmers whose land has been confiscated by local authorities. He had reportedly been under close surveillance for some time prior to his arrest.

PEN is alarmed about an apparent crackdown on other leading pro-democracy figures in recent weeks, including Father Nguyen Van Ly, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in March 2007 and human rights lawyers and internet writers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, who were sentenced to five years and fours years in prison respectively on 11 May 2007. Award-winning writer and journalist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy remains detained pending trial following her arrest in April 2007 (see previous WiPC Bulletins).

PEN considers all these writers to be detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to free expression, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Please send appeals:

 



  • Protesting the sentencing of Tran Quoc Hien;


  • Expressing deep concern about an apparent crackdown on leading pro-democracy activists and writers for their peaceful dissident activities;


  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all writers held in Vietnam in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam is a signatory.

Appeals to be sent to:

His Excellency Nguyen Minh Triet
President, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
C/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Prime Minister Nguyên Tân Dung
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Lê Doan Hop, Minister of Culture and Information
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

It may be most effective, however, to send the above appeals via the Vietnamese embassy in London:

H.E. Mr Trinh Duc Du

12-14 Victoria Road

London W8 5RD

Fax: 020 7565 3853

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/vietnaminternetwritertranquochiensentenced/

About English PEN staff

This content is published by the English PEN staff.

View all posts by English PEN staff →

One Comment on “Vietnam: Internet writer Tran Quoc Hien sentenced”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *